John and Gerry leave Ireland to start their trip

IRELAND        IRELAND         FRANCE



Today Sunday 13th of October is over a month since we left Ireland and while it is not my first opportunity to sit down to write something about our trip to date in some respects starting off on this trip I don't think I have ever been so physically or mentally exhausted in my life and John was equally burnt out.


Our leaving Ireland was something of an anti-climatic experience or perhaps our sheer tiredness prevented any appreciation of the sense of occasion. Contrary to all textbook recommendation I did my shake down test run with the bike fully loaded only the morning before departure and it proved to be just that. The sheer weight of all I was carrying shook the front end so violently that I was lucky to make it 100 yards down the back road past my house. After my friend Ronald Cox and I redistributed some of the weight it became a little bit more acceptable with the proviso that you were firm with the throttle, as any gentle take off only sent it into a violent head shaking.


It was with this condition that I set off the following morning Saturday 7th September 2002. A number of my neighbours turn out to see me off which was very thoughtful and Liam, Des, Donal and Fidelma decided to come with me on their bikes. As we set off towards Dublin to rendezvous with John and Alex, the second aspect of the light front end reared its ugly head as anything above 65 induced a violet weave though this to me was a more acceptable condition then the low speed shaking. When we got to the Liffey Toll Bridge where we met Alex and John coming from the north, Des readjusted the shock which made it slightly better for the rest of the journey to Rosslare. Jimmy Mac turned out to meet us at the Toll Bridge and gave us enough earplugs to do the whole journey. As it transpired John also had a shaky start due to carrying an even heavier load than I had. It was six bikes then that headed for Rosslare and our lunch stop delay in Jack Whites was a little too leisurely because we suddenly found ourselves trying to make time on two very suspect high-speed bikes to catch the Rosslare ferry in time. I wasn't aware of it, as I was at the front of the group but seemingly coming into Rosslare an unmarked police car was in pursuit and was unable to get out as easily as we did against oncoming traffic. Hopefully they weren't waiting for the gang on the way home though I'm sure Donal will have managed to talk to them out of it? (I'm still waiting on the summons: Alex)


It literally was with seconds to spare that we made the ferry with the result that we didn't even have time to bid our farewells to our friends, which only added to the anti-climatic feeling about it all. With our bikes the last vehicles on the ferry we secured them just inside the door and a gentleman from Galway, Joe Dillon of Irish Ferries, helping me with mine. Another couple from Kilkenny were also heading for France on a R75/7, which once belonged to the late Dr. Margaret O'Regan of Cork fame. Once we got on board and settled in our cabin we sat down to a beautiful meal in the executive restaurant, which Declan Mescall of Irish Ferries had thoughtfully arranged for us and yet as we sat there we reflected on just how tired we both were and couldn't fully enjoy the meal, resolving to take it very easy the first few days down through France. We had half intended of meeting up with Gary Finlay in Camping Moto outside of Valance who was mapping alpine passes on the G.P.S but decided instead hotels were the order of the day for the first seven days, at least.



IRELAND        IRELAND         FRANCE

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